Spotlight interview with Nicky,
our fabulous finance manager
and resident feminist.
Nicky has been with Mando for almost 15 years and in that time she believes the world has changed for women. We speak to her to find out more about her life behind all the numbers and working with the Girlguiding community who are International Women’s Day official charity.
With your job being stereotypically male, do you find any issues with your role as finance manager?
I have had in the past emails that assume I am a man because my name is Nicky and because I am a finance manager. I do get the assumption sometimes as I am in finance and emails will come through with “Dear Sir” on them, but that could just be a general thing. Other than that, no not really, but that is because I have been here so long and everyone in the company knows me and the people I deal with outside the company know me too.
What does international women’s day mean for you?
Universal suffrage didn’t come in until 1928, a whole decade after some women were initially given the vote in 1918, even though the movement started in the early 1800s. But simply put, International Women’s Day for me is empowering women everywhere.
Who is your favourite female author and why?
I very rarely read fiction these days, but when I was a child it would have been authors such as Anna Sewell who wrote “Black Beauty”, Susan Coolidge who wrote “What Katy Did” and Lucy Montgomery who wrote “Anne of Green Gables”. But equally I like the classics such as Jane Austen.
If you could invite 3 women dead or alive to a dinner party, who would you have and why?
- Sandi Toksvig is number one, she is fantastic, she founded the political party to which I belong (Women’s Equality Party), when she came out really early as a lesbian, she was told her career would be over, but she defied all odds and is a brilliant role model to have, whoever they are.
- Millicent Fawcett she was a suffragist. In the 1890s she started the women’s suffrage society after becoming involved with women’s suffrage when she was only 17 or 18. She had a statue put up in Parliament Square last year, and is the first women ever to have a statue there, alongside the likes of Winston Churchill.
- Queen Elizabeth the First. I have always been fascinated by history, and she was a woman in a man’s world. She went from being vilified to being Gloriana. But she did it without the ferocity of her sister Mary, Queen of Scots.
What do you think the biggest global feminist issue is today?
Women still only earning 84p to the pound is a big one. But you have western feminist issues and you have developing country feminist issues. We do have women that are able to burst through glass ceilings, but it’s not too common, and that shouldn’t be the case. There are currently more men sat in parliament today than there have ever been women elected and fewer women leading FTSE firms than men called John.
An example that happened only a couple of weeks ago was there was an article written about the all the Brit Awards winners and all the female winners had their ages listed, but none of the men did.
I’m a Guide leader and I have girls at the age of 12 coming up to me saying “I can’t do that because I’m a girl”. The biggest feminist issue is still there is no equality. It is the same for men though, take maternity and paternity for instance, men only get 2 weeks off but women can have a year, it should be equal for both. But, until women are treated equally with men either in the press, in work and in the home, it won’t be resolved.
When did you get into the Guiding community?
I was a Brownie and a Guide when I was a child, and then I left and became a leader at 18 and I have been a Guide and Brownie leader for 25 years, and a Scout leader for 3 years. I am incredibly proud member of Girlguiding, it does amazing things to empower young women and show them that they can do anything they want, it’s important girls have a safe space. We go sailing and rock climbing, anything that boys can do, girls can do just as well. It’s a very safe and nurturing environment. They come to us as girls and they leave as young women, and if I can help give them confidence it makes it all worth it. It’s about showing people it doesn’t matter what you look like and that’s why we have the uniform. The uniform is levelling, we are the biggest uniformed organization for women in the UK.
The World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts is the official charity of International Women’s Day, what do your guides do to celebrate?
This year we aren’t doing anything special, but last year we celebrated the centenary of some women getting the right to vote, and did lots of things on voting and parliament. The Guides are very aware though, through me and the other Guide leaders, we are all very strong women, and very politically aware. They know the voice they can have and Girlguiding has a tremendous voice. We work with partners like Dove, Google, Rolls Royce, Amey and Easyjet to empower young women to be confident in everything from their career choices to their bodies.
Do you think you’ll ever give up Guiding?
No, absolutely not, I will be involved with Guides for the rest of my life. I get so much out of it, seeing their attitudes and the strength they have to overcome things is amazing. It’s just a wonderful community and I am proud to be part of it.